No Asks, No Gets
When my son asks to watch cartoons on my Ipad, I sometimes have to tell him "no". Maybe it is because it is family time, or maybe it is because he already watched cartoons for the day. But no matter what the reason is that I give to him (always along with an alternative activity suggestion), he always has the same response. A meltdown of epic proportions.
He immediately throws his head back and will often collapse to the ground. He will yell "nooooooooo" and then will start to call me "bad mommy". I like to think about how those around me would react if this were to be how I responded when hearing "no" to something that I suggested. Toddlers are lucky in that they get to act exactly how they feel, without too much consequence.
I hear "no" a lot. Don't get me wrong, I hear "yes" a lot too, but that is because I have a lot of asks in life. I ride and die by the motto "no asks, no gets".
I have always been an advocate for saying what you believe in and want. You have to step up and speak up for the things that you want for yourself or your cause in order to make the best life for yourself. If you don't ask, you will never know what could have been.
We all start out like my son. Asking for what you need or want is a fine-tuned skill. Something that can take a lifetime to develop.
Asking for what you want and being told "no" will elicit a reaction like my son has for much of a person's early life. I know it did for me. I hear all the time from my mom about the time I threw a tantrum in the grocery store because I was told "no" when I wanted candy. I collapsed to the floor and my mom left me there. She pulled the car up out front, and when I was done with the tantrum I peeled myself off the ground, walked out to the car, buckled up, and went home (without shame, of course - ahhhhh the beauty of being four years old!).
My reaction to being told "no" evolved over the years into never-ending eye rolling and door slamming in my teens. Writing this out is making me realize that I have a long way to go with my kids before they will actually understand how to turn a "no" into a "yes".
In my opinion, it is all about your approach. In my adult life, when I hear a "no", I often can attribute the "no" to my approach. When I know that I am making a hard ask, I draw up a thoughtful proposal in my head or on paper before asking for the order. This helps me to organize my thoughts so that I can more clearly communicate what I am trying to gain.
When asking for something that I want, I have come to realize that my chance of hearing a "yes" will increase if I am able to highlight to the other party how them saying yes will benefit them. My son should really rethink his approach when asking to watch cartoons. If he were to say "Mom, if you allowed me to watch another 20 minutes of cartoons, then I will clean up all of my toys from the living room and brush my teeth before bed", then I guarantee that I would be more apt to saying "yes" to his request.
Why does this take so long to learn? We all expect things to happen quickly and instantly at times. I am in my 30's now, and I feel that I have been able to develop my asking skills over the years to a point where I hear more "yes" than "no". All of my outbursts from when I was younger were basically training wheels for the real world.
Being told "no" is a valuable event in life that I continue to learn from. I learn from every "no" that I hear. I take the time to reflect on where I went wrong in my approach. I make mental notes and then will apply what I learned to future asks.
Knowing your audience will also help. If my son were to say "Mom, if you allowed me to watch another 20 minutes of cartoons, then I will eat all my dessert after dinner", well, that doesn't help me much. Telling him "no" will in a way teach him that his approach was not convincing enough and that he should go back to the drawing board (and then try again another time with a more convincing ask).
Asking for something requires negotiating skills. When it comes to my blog, I am constantly pitching ideas to brands. I see it as a fun challenge to create ideas for how a particular brand can be incorporated into my blog. I feel that I am pretty good at seeing a brand and then creating a pitch for why working with First Thyme Mom will make sense for them. I then take the time to write up a pitch. I will sit on it for a few days, then hit "send".
I hear a lot of "yes" when I pitch collaboration ideas. I always include many ways in which the collaboration will help the brand. Ultimately, I am benefiting as well from the partnership, but it is always a two-way street. And that goes with any negotiation deal in life.
As I go through life, all the yeses that I hear give me the energy to push forward. All of the nos are equally as motivating but in a different way. I do get discouraged at times, but often not for long. I am quick to rethink my approach and ideate ways for coming in stronger and more convincing the next time around. Hearing a "no" is basically a challenge for doing better the next time around.
As adults, as much as we want to act out like toddlers, we know that those years are long gone. And luckily, we don't need to react like our kids do. I have luckily been able to pick up on what motivates others to buy into my pitch or campaign and apply that to all aspects of life.
Tips For Turning a NO into a YES
1) Know your audience
Think about who you are asking something of. Think about the various things that you think would be of interest to them while formulating your ask. Think about what they would want to hear from your pitch.
2) Make it worth their while
In order to increase your chances of hearing a "yes", carefully think about what you can offer to the person that you are making the ask to. How can what you are pitching benefit them?
3) Be genuine
Lay it all out on the table. Be honest, and pour it all out there (in a constructive manner). Speak from a place that is genuine in order to show how what you are asking for has a mutual benefit. Create a mutual benefit sandwich. Start with how your ask will help the person you are speaking with, and then communicate how the ask will help you. Finish and summarize with how the ask will help the person that you are speaking with (or how it will be of mutual benefit).
4) Don't take "no" as a forever "no"
If you hear a "no", don't leave discouraged forever. Sometimes, you won't actually hear a no. Sometimes the no will be communicated with body language or brush-off tactics. Go back to the drawing board and figure out where the weaknesses were in your pitch, and reformulate your approach for next time.
5) Timing is important
Sometimes timing can be off. Carefully consider the circumstances that the person or business who you are making an ask of is going through. With brands, if I know that they are planning an upcoming launch of a new product, I will tie into my pitch how I can help with their launch. Timing can be everything.
6) Follow through
If you have enough asks in your life, you will begin to hear yes. And once you hear a yes, be sure to always follow through on your end of the deal. If you want to increase the likelihood of future yeses, go above and beyond in order to show your integrity and commitment to sticking to your word.